Ben, Polly, Joel, Davie and baby Phronsie are the five children of the late Mr. Pepper and his hard-working wife. The family is desperately poor and Mrs. Pepper and Ben have to work out of the house to keep the home fires burning. Young Polly takes over the reins of the household and becomes a surrogate mom to her little brothers and sister.This heart-warming tale has provided hours of entertainment to generations of children and parents. Five Little Peppers and How they Grew by Margaret Sidney is the first in a series of twelve books featuring the lives of the Pepper family.In this first book, we find the young Peppers struggling with a lack of money but yet they remain cheerful and brave, working together to make life easier for the mother. When the series begins, the youngest, Phronsie, or Sophronia, is a baby of three, and is doted upon by the entire clan. She loves dolls and is a kind hearted little girl, always willing to sympathize with anyone in need. Mrs. Pepper, or Mamsie, as the children call her, is the person who keeps her brood together and inculcates the values of sincerity, honesty, humility and hard work in them. The eldest two, Ben and Polly are capable assistants to their mother. Joel is the live wire in the family, while Davie is the quiet and reflective one. They all live together in their Little Brown House. A disaster leads to a chance meeting with a kind hearted philanthropist, J Horatio King, whose generosity and wealth change the lives of the Pepper family forever.This charming, if slightly dated, story was first published in 1881. It followed the tradition of children's novels at the time, where a family learns to overcome hardship and triumphs in the end. Like Louisa M Alcott's Little Women series, the Pepper books went on to trace the lives of the five well into adulthood, marriage and parenthood. Phronsie, the youngest is a young lady of twenty by the time the last book ends.Measles, poverty, adventures, a kidnapping, lots of humor and old fashioned values make Five Little Peppers... a delightful read for both parents and children. In the late 1930s and 40s, a series of films were made based on the books. However, the script was quite different and merely used the characters created by Margaret Sidney.This endearing tale that combines homespun wisdom with gentle humor is indeed a great addition to your children's book shelf!